Mount next? The last 9 players Man Utd have signed from their big six rivals

Manchester United have never been afraid of puffing out their chest, getting the wallet out and splashing the cash to take some of the best talent in the Premier League from their direct rivals.

Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount could be the next player to move from one of the Premier League’s big dogs directly to United. The club have reportedly had three bids rejected by Chelsea but are expected to return with an improved off to get a deal over the line to sign the England international.

We’ve taken a look at the nine players United signed from their ‘big six’ rivals in the Premier League era, and how they fared at Old Trafford.

Alexis Sanchez

Having developed into one of the best players in the Premier League with Arsenal, expectations were high when Sanchez completed his move to United in January 2018.

But the winger failed to justify the hype or his £500,000-a-week wages, becoming a sad punchline by scoring just five goals in 45 appearances in all competitions for the club. 

Desperate to get his wages off the books for good, United eventually allowed him to join Inter Milan on a free transfer in 2020, despite there still being two years left on his contract.

It’ll be little consolation to United fans but it’s been lovely to see the Chilean rediscovering something like his best form at Marseille.

Nemanja Matic

After getting frustrated in their pursuit of Tottenham midfielder Eric Dier – yes, really – United instead spent £40million on Matic in the summer of 2017.

The Serbia international had just helped Chelsea win the Premier League title but was replaced at Stamford Bridge by Tiemoue Bakayoko.

He enjoyed an excellent debut season at Old Trafford but fell down the pecking order following Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s appointment and stuck around as part of the furniture for a bit too long before departing to reunite with – who else but? – Jose Mourinho at Roma.

Juan Mata

Despite winning back-to-back Chelsea Player of the Year awards in his first two seasons in England, Mata was deemed surplus to requirements by Mourinho at Stamford Bridge.

United, who were enduring a dreadful season under David Moyes, signed the attacking midfielder for £37.1million in January 2014 to try and lift the gloom around the club.

The Spain international was never able to consistently replicate his best form at Old Trafford but has still provided plenty of memorable moments, most notably those two goals at Anfield in 2015. After leaving on a free last summer, he’s just won the first league title of his career with Galatasaray.

Robin van Persie

After United lost out on the Premier League title by goal difference in 2011-12, they looked to add more firepower to their team and signed Van Persie from Arsenal in a £24million deal.

The striker almost singlehandedly delivered the title for United in 2012-13, scoring 26 league goals to give Sir Alex Ferguson the perfect send-off.

“In terms of impact, he has had as big an impact as anyone I can imagine,” Ferguson said in 2013.

“I think we had an expectation of Robin because his performance last year for Arsenal was sensational. We saw him last year and knew he could gel into the way our team was, and he has never disappointed us.”

While he struggled for the same kind of form under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal, that debut season made him worth every penny.

READ: Robin van Persie: Would I have joined Man Utd if I knew Fergie was retiring?

Freddie Veseli

A Manchester City academy graduate, Veseli decided to make the move from one side of Manchester to the other in January 2012. 

If any United fans hoped this would be revenge for Carlos Tevez, they were left with egg on their face, as he didn’t manage a single first-team appearance for the club. 

Dimitar Berbatov

The story goes that Daniel Levy was such a nightmare to deal with during negotiations for Berbatov’s signature that United have refused to go back to Tottenham since.

Berbatov’s moments of magic made it worth the trouble. The Bulgarian’s goalscoring record was decent – 48 goals in 108 Premier League appearances – and he won the title in two of the years he featured regularly.

It’s still bizarre that he was left out of the squad for the 2011 Champions League final after a season in which he notched a career-best 20 Premier League goals.

Michael Carrick

United had gone three years without lifting the Premier League title in 2006 – an eternity in the Ferguson era. The club had made flashier signings in the years before – Rooney, Ronaldo – but Carrick was the signing that made the rebuild project complete.

The midfielder had proven himself a classy operator in his two years at White Hart Lane and would go on to be exceptional for United, winning five Premier League titles as one of the key men of Ferguson’s latter years.

READ: 7 reasons why Michael Carrick will always be beloved by Man Utd fans

Teddy Sheringham

Signing a 31-year-old to replace the irreplaceable Eric Cantona was an eyebrow-raising decision that was soon vindicated. A goal and an assist in the dying minutes of the 1999 Champions League final was enough alone to seal Sheringham’s place in Old Trafford folklore forever.

Tony Coton

The goalkeeper made the controversial switch from City after making over 150 appearances for their local rivals. He signed for a £500,000 fee with a view to becoming Peter Schmeichel’s back-up, but he only lasted six months and never made an appearance for the club.

Coton did make United a small profit when he was sold to Sunderland, though, and is now back working for the club as a goalkeeper scout.

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